Minolta 16 MG
By 1966, Minolta found that their submini line of cameras was going in two
different directions. While their original 16mm cameras were tiny,
their new, automatic-exposure cameras were large and heavy. They decided
to solve this discrepancy by producing the MG -- a new 16mm camera with a
built-in meter that was actually smaller than their original camera!
This camera was very much a return to the original purpose of
the original Minolta 16 -- to have a convenient camera that was very small.
But it added substantial features over the original and it now included a
built-in meter. Both the Minolta P (1960) and EE (1962) cameras had
grown substantially in size and weight over the original Minolta 16 model
as they added features, such as a built-in meter and automatic exposure.
But the MG reverted back to a much smaller body -- and a very stylish
body it was! So how could they do it? Something had to give,
and it was the CDS meter and automatic exposure. The Minolta EE included
automatic exposure and the EE2 used a CDS meter system with a battery. The
MG dropped the CDS meter and reverted back to a selenium meter -- which does
not require a battery -- saving much needed space. They also saved
space by dropping the automatic exposure system, but came up with a system
that makes the camera more versatile and almost as easy to use. The
MG has manual exposure settings -- which the EE cameras lacked -- and it
has a special match needle exposure system that's almost as convenient as
automatic exposure. In fact, the MG metering system is so easy to use that
it is often listed as having auto-exposure! It's really a match-needle
system which adjusts the shutter speed and aperture in combination -- at
the same time. Think of it as a programmed, metered-manual exposure
system. Just dial in the film speed (ISO 25 - 400) and then turn the
"exposure" dial until the needles match in the exposure window on the top
of the camera. This lets you quickly set the correct exposure settings,
but the camera can be used manually for creative control. Manual exposure
settings take a little getting used to as they cannot be set independently.
The camera adjusts the f-stop and shutter speed at the same time, so
that at 1/30 the f-stop is f2.8, while at 1/250 the f-stop is f16. But
with a little practice, manual settings are not difficult to make. The
camera has a slightly-wider lens than the earlier cameras -- a 20mm
f2.8 lens. It's a four-element optic so the results are super-sharp.
The focus was set at about 13 feet; and with the wider lens and
use of the variable aperture, the depth-of-field
was quite substantial. Shutter speeds of 1/30-1/250 and f-stops from
f2.8 - f16. Only two filters were available -- UV and Y48 (yellow)
-- but a creative person can make their own by attaching gelatin filers behind
the UV filer. The camera did have the convenience of a built-in, sliding
close-up lens (set to four feet) -- so no additional closeup lenses were
needed -- and parallax marks were set in teh viewfinder. A red mark
appears in the viewfinder when the close-up lens is in place to avoid
out-of-focus pictures. It also appears when the built-in lens cover
is in place -- which locks the shutter release (although it does not turn
off the meter). The camera does not have a flash shoe. A flash gun,
which matches the very stylish body, was available and used flash bulbs.
The accessory flashgun screwed into the tripod socket of the camera,
and has an additional tripod socket should it be needed. The
camera had a PC contact which the accessory flashgun did not use, so other
flash units could be used with the camera, as well. To use flash, there
is a flash switch on the back of the camera that sets the shutter at 1/30.
Then you select the f-stop manually -- a setup that's perfect for low
light, non-flash pictures, as well. Not only was the MG small
and stylish, it has a silky-smooth finish that feels almost natural in your
hand. Many subbers fall in love with this camera for this reason, even
before seeing the great results. Most models were chrome, but a gold
version was also made. The MG was also sold as the Revue 16 and was
made up to 1971.
COPYRIGHT @ 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 by Joe McGloin. All Rights Reserved.